Video footage of a 5-year-old Palestinian boy weeping as his father is arrested by Border Police officers near Hebron this week has been making waves internationally and garnering attention from media outlets worldwide.
In the clip, the boy, Khaled Jaber, chases after his father during the latter's arrest, calling out "baba, baba." A Border Police officer approaches the boy, takes him by the arm to separate him from his father, who is driven away from the family home in a police car.
Border Police said the family staged the scenario and instructed the child to run after his father and cry in front of the cameras.
The boy's father Fadel Jaber and another family member were arrested on Monday on suspicion of attacking police and interfering with police activity. According to Border Police and Civil Administration authorities, the family members hurled stones at and attacked Hebron police officers, who were investigating the family's alleged illegal connection to a local water pipe.
Fadel Jaber's brother-in-law said that he saw police first thing in the morning, saying they disassembled the irrigation system from his crops. "I told my family to stay in the house, and then they [the police] came into my house and attacked my children and the rest of the family. My brother-in-law tried to protect my 16-year-old son. He asked them, 'What do you want from him?' and they arrested him."
Fadel Jaber's brother-in-law also responded to Border Police claims the family instructed 5-year-old Khaled to cry and run after his father. "It is an outright lie," he said. "A boy sees his father and uncle getting beaten and being treated like dogs, and this is a natural reaction. Who could tell a small child to go and confront grown soldiers?"
Border Police issued a statement saying, "In the course of enforcement activities against water thieves in the southern Hebron Hills, the force was attacked with stones and two people were arrested for disturbing the peace and attacking police."
Police went on to say that pictures from the incident show "that the family chose to make cynical use of a 5-year-old boy" and that "he was well instructed and directed."
"Instead of the family acting responsibly toward a child and removing him from the situation, they chose to make cheap anti-Israel propaganda, whose sole purpose is to present us in a negative light around the world. As is seen in the pictures, and in order to remove any doubt, the authorities on site acted lawfully against the unacceptable phenomenon of water theft."